Why was Ryan Bates from Netflix's Toughest Forces on Earth arrested after filming the series?

Ryan Bates holding a gun (Image via Instagram/@frogman5326_)
Ryan Bates holding a gun (Image via Instagram/@frogman5326_)

Netflix's new docu-drama series, titled Toughest Forces on Earth, premiered on May 22, 2024. The eight-part reality show follows three former Special Forces officers as they undergo training with elite military and law enforcement units worldwide. The show provides insights into the tactics and strategies these units employ.

As per Netflix, the show's synopsis is as follows:

"Three adventurous veterans train alongside some of the world's most elite military units, getting an inside look at their tactics and weaponry."

One of the people featured in the show is Ryan Bates, a former U.S. Navy SEAL. What fans may not be aware of is that Bates was detained by the police in Malaysia last year after empty ammunition magazines were found in his luggage at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) following filming for Toughest Forces on Earth. Keep reading to learn the reason behind his arrest.

Toughest Forces on Earth star Ryan Bates's arrest, reason explored

A still from 'Toughest Forces on Earth' (Image via Instagram/@toughestforcesonearth)
A still from 'Toughest Forces on Earth' (Image via Instagram/@toughestforcesonearth)

On June 29, 2023, Ryan Bates was reportedly barred from leaving Malaysia after empty ammunition magazines were discovered in his luggage at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Bates, then 43 years old, was returning to Las Vegas, Nevada, in the United States.

His wife, Diana Dahlgren Bates, explained that Bates had carried the items for the Netflix show Toughest Forces on Earth, which was being filmed in Malaysia at the time. According to a July article by Malay Mail, Diana urgently appealed for assistance from the US Embassy via an Instagram post, now deleted, stating:

“My husband @frogman5326_ is currently detained at the Kuala Lumpur Airport being held by Malaysian Police. In order to get him out I NEED someone at the US EMBASSY AS SOON AS HUMANELY POSSIBLE!!!!"

Malaysia’s stringent gun control laws require individuals carrying firearms or ammunition to possess a valid license issued by the police. It is likely that Ryan Bates was detained because he did not have the necessary license as required.

Bates himself documented his ordeal on Instagram before his arrest. In one video, he stated that he was detained at KLIA while authorities examined the contents of his bag. As time went on, he continued updating on the situation. He mentioned that if people did not hear from him in a few days, he would likely be "stuck in a hole in some stupid place."

A still from 'Toughest Forces on Earth' (Image via Instagram/@toughestforcesonearth)
A still from 'Toughest Forces on Earth' (Image via Instagram/@toughestforcesonearth)

As six officials were filmed inspecting the three magazine clips he had with him, Bates expressed his frustration by saying he would never return to the country again. He also requested contact information for the US Embassy in Malaysia, mentioning that he was being taken to a police station.

Eventually, Bates was released on bail on July 1, 2023. However, as reported by The Star at that time, he was not allowed to leave the country until the investigation was concluded. Fortunately, the investigation finished only two days later, and Ryan Bates was ultimately free to return home to the United States.

Who is Ryan Bates from Toughest Forces on Earth? Life and career explored

Ryan Bates is a former U.S. Navy SEAL who served for 12 years with deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Philippines. Following his military career, Bates transitioned into entrepreneurship, founding several businesses.

He owns Poseidon Applications Group, The Blind Buck Bar, Globe Bar, and Kitchen. Additionally, he founded Canoe Club USA, an ammunition and clothing store, in 2021.

Bates is married to Dianna Dahlgren, a former model and business owner of Salty Honey, a high-end women's lifestyle clothing brand. As per his social media, he shares two children with his wife - son Hunter and daughter Penny Bates.

Currently, Ryan Bates is featured in Toughest Forces on Earth.

Read more: 10 gripping crime thrillers based on true events like The Asunta Case


All eight episodes of Toughest Forces on Earth are currently available for streaming on Netflix.

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Edited by Shubham Soni
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